To manage time effectively one must first become aware of how they spend it. What is it that you spend most of your time on during the day? We all have busy lives and between all the hustle and bustle of our
We all have busy lives and between all the hustle and bustle of our days most of us are simply attempting to schedule time to sleep. We end up asking ourselves what exactly sleep is and how do we get some? We often push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion before allowing our bodies and minds to rest. Even then, we can suffer from our “brains never shutting down” or “tossing and turning all night”. Our lives, dictated by some outside force, may seem as though we will never find the time to focus on the simple things which bring us joy. Time management is a useful tool, comprised of many benefits such as increased energy, lowered stress, and increased availability.
Living in Springfield most of my life, I have had the habit of over-burdening myself with work and school, leaving little time for family and friends. Sure, I coach my son’s soccer team at present, but I am guilty of taking on too much in my daily affairs. As a result, my productivity, ability to get things done, focus and patience all decreases the longer I continue this charade. It was crucial for me to learn how to manage time, and more importantly, make time for myself. When I am right, the whole world around me benefits. Here is what I started doing to get a handle on my crazy schedule:
Simple Tips to Manage Time
- Learn to say no. For those of us “Yes” people, we often think we can take on the world alone, but end up falling short. Rather than worrying about who we may upset by saying no, think about how upsetting it is for others we’ve made promises to when we cannot accomplish what we assured them we could.
- Make time to center. Allow time every morning for yourself. Warning: this may require you to get up thirty minutes earlier than usual. Wake up, put on some coffee or tea and breathe. Breathing deeply and slowly for only a few minutes each morning can stimulate you into focus and create an avenue for lowered stress. For useful breathing tips take a look at Dr. Andrew Weil’s adaptation of yogic breathing techniques, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html.
- Do not check your email more than twice a day. I am a firm believer in limiting my email viewing when my day is overly busy. Though it can be just as difficult as not checking your phone for texts or missed calls every few minutes, leaving emails until the next day is not a bad thing. Set times to check your email and if you run out of time, allow time during your next work day to check them and respond.
- Create a task list. Evaluate how you feel your time needs to be spent and create a task list. Audit your task list weekly and find what works best for you. Keep in mind when creating your task list it may be important to allow for contingency time if your job/life has a habit of dumping unexpected duties in your lap or on your desk. Not to mention things tend to take more time than we originally anticipate, so allow a bit more time than you may like. If you finish your task early, great! You simply created time to get started early on the next pressing task.
- Treat yourself. We often become so caught up in what we “have” to do that we forget the fact that we “have” to reward ourselves. It is not up to anyone else to make us happy. That is solely our responsibility. When we neglect our own needs and wants we become unhappy, edgy people. We don’t “stop to smell the roses” and seriously think we can get away with a self-sacrificing mentality. Rewards for our efforts are important. Schedule time once a week or once a month to treat ourselves to an evening out, or a morning in bed. We don’t need much to stay happy, just the simplicity of allowing ourselves to relax, sit back and enjoy the day, or some intake of delicious food from our favorite restaurant.
- Stop staying up so late worrying about tomorrow. This one used to get me often. I have had to force myself to sleep so many times that I finally threw my hands up and decided I would just never get a good nights’ sleep. It wasn’t until I realized I was the only one torturing myself. Because of that realization, one evening I laid in my bed, did some breathing exercises, read a couple of chapter from the book I’d been wanting to and drifted off to sleep. The tasks I still needed to complete were available to me in the morning, but they were always going to be so why worry myself into insomnia every night?
- Spend weekends having fun. Work and everyday life responsibilities are not going away…ever. So, spend your weekends as if they are actually weekends. We don’t always have to work to get a head. Sometimes working nonstop creates barriers which can keep us from being productive no matter how hard we try. Take two days to decompress and prepare for the upcoming work-week.
- Give what little time you have value. When we are honest with ourselves about our time and its value, others will understand and work with us. Their time is valuable and they know it. The same goes for us. Build an honest rapport with your co-workers, boss, partners, and family. Communicate with them what you have going on and allow them to communicate with you. We all have something to do and as long as we communicate, each of us can value our own time as well as others.
Shake it off
As we can see a change in ourselves once we begin managing our time, we learn to let things go when we need to. I said before and I will say it again and again, we cannot take on the world alone. We must understand that life is going to throw curveballs the majority of the time and it is up to us to learn how to manage and accept those pitches. But, it is when our time management is on-point that we can finally remedy said stressors with ease. Granted we will all have times were a stressor may get the best of us, however that’s why we have a time-contingency plan and breathing exercises, right? Sometimes, the best thing to do is just shake it off and leaving for another day. Just like we can make time work for us, time has a way of working on its own. Perhaps that pressing task which is causing us worry requires us to allow time to bring about a new perspective or collaborative event such as an evening out with friends.
How will you improve your time management?
Wishing you all the best!